Waxhaw Police Department adds two four-legged officers

Both Waxhaw Police Department K9s completed and extensive training program.

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Elvis, and his buddy Edo, put on a show at the Waxhaw Police Department last week. After patiently surviving their graduation ceremony from police K9 training school, the two new four-legged members of the Waxhaw Police Department showed off some of their police skills to nearly 75 people on Dec. 15.

Elvis is assigned to police officer Billy Mills while Edo has been assigned to police officer Matt Watkins. Both officers were with their new patrol partners during the entire six-week, seven days a week training course. Both dogs are Belgian Malinois’ and they were purchased in Slovakia.

It is the first time since 2005 that Waxhaw has a K9 unit. The two police dogs and Mills and Watkins recently completed an extensive training course at DNA K9 Law Enforcement K9 Training and School in Wingate, N.C.

Waxhaw’s last K9 dog died in the line of duty 12 years ago after suffering heat exhaustion while tracking a rape suspect.

“This has been a long time coming,” Eiss said. “A lot of the public wanted us to bring them back, too.”

The two dogs cost $ 27,000, which included the extensive training, but no taxpayer money was needed for the two police K9’s. On average, a police K9 will be able to serve for eight or nine years

“Before I go to the council for money, I always try to find a way to get it paid for without using taxpayer money,” Eiss said. “So we looked for grants, we started a GoFundMe page and we held a golf tournament. Then we used a little asset forfeiture money that we had. We were able to purchase the dogs without any cost of the taxpayer.”

Elvis and Edo will perform a variety of tasks while on patrol.

“Searching for drugs, article search, suspect searching, officer protection,” Eiss said. “These dogs are bred just for this purpose. They are good dogs.”

Becoming a K9 officer is a big commitment for Mills and Watkins.

“They ride with the officers, they go home with the officers,” Eiss said. “As part of the training process, you have to bond with that dog.”

What is a Belgian Malinois

They were originally bred to be herding dogs. The breed is used as a working dog for tasks including detection of odors such as explosives, accelerants (for arson investigation), and narcotics; tracking humans for suspect apprehension in police work, and search and rescue missions. The U.S. Secret Service uses Belgian Malinois to guard the grounds of the White House.

“They are pretty athletic and they are easy to train,” Eiss said. “They are what a lot of agencies are using now.”

DNA K9 Law Enforcement K9 Training and School

DNA K9 teaches how to handle a police service canine in today’s environment. It is a structured course that covers every aspect of operating and caring for a Police Service Canine such as: Kenneling, feeding, grooming, emergency trauma care, pre-mission preparation to combat heat and cold-related injuries, patrol techniques and deployment, target odor detection, tracking/trailing (hard and soft surfaces), article search, area search, building search, handler protection, on/off lead obedience, basic police K9 decoying, NAPWDA certification preparation, UTD legal updates and records keeping. Each K9 team will have the opportunity to receive a national certification through NAPWDA. 

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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at ripig1979@yahoo.com.